Congratulations! You got a new job, a promotion, a new haircut, need a new pic for LinkedIn, or maybe a new shirt that just so happens to perfectly reflect your personality and project the exact level of professionalism you want. The point is: you need a new professional headshot.
Your first thought is: “My new phone has a really awesome camera. I’ll just have my friend take my picture.”
Here Is Your Amateur iPhone Headshot:
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Is this a bad picture? No. Is it a bad headshot? Yes. Photos, where you are dressed for the part, but not in the proper surroundings, are not the best way to represent yourself in a professional manner. I asked (forced) my co-worker, Jeremy, to participate in a couple of shots for me to help explain the difference between a “traditional” headshot and one that represents your personality well.
Here Is Our “Traditional” Professional Headshot:
I don’t know about you, but I’d trust this guy to develop my company an amazing website. Jeremy looks professional and friendly. We kept our set up simple as we took a few steps out of our office on the sidewalk and struck a casual pose. The “traditional” headshot is taken from the chest up and features your face in a head-on position.
Here Is Our “Non-Traditional” Professional Headshot:
A fun fact about Jeremy: he probably has a pair of sunglasses that match every outfit. I would venture to say that 90% of his day is spent with a pair resting on his head somewhere. Lucky for us: we work at a creative company that doesn’t mind a fun headshot. For his “traditional” shot, I placed Jeremy in the classic crossed arms pose. In this “non-traditional” shot, I noticed how Jeremy was standing when he was chatting with me (about how much fun it was to have his picture taken… just kidding, he was miserable) and this is where his body naturally rested. That was a clear indication to me that it should be how we choose to represent his personality in this image.
To be honest: I am a fan of both the “traditional” and “non-traditional” headshots that I see. The point of a headshot is to give an accurate representation, albeit a professionally photographed and retouched representation, of the way you would look when your colleagues, clients, and potential clients see your face to face.
Here are 3 tips steps to creating a professional headshot:
- You should look like you… seriously. Look like yourself. Today is not the day to try out that new red lipstick. Your makeup should reflect your daily routine, helping to create the best version of yourself. If you typically wear your hair down then keep it down. If you always have a ponytail then style it that way!
- Wear something you’d actually wear, but don’t play it totally safe. If a black blazer and a white collared shirt represent you best then feel free to choose those for your photos. However, don’t be afraid to add in textures and patterns. Things like plaids and lace photograph very well! Keep your jewelry to a minimum. Just because that neon statement necklace is trendy today doesn’t mean you won’t hate it next year.
- Take your photo where you’re comfortable. The words “professional headshot” are not necessarily synonymous with “studio”. You can have your photo taken in your office, outdoors, or even in your home. Whatever feels the most natural to you. The most important thing to remember when shooting these images is to have them taken by an experienced professional. Regardless of where the photo is taken, do not overdo it with the setup. A head shot is meant to be a simple, professional representation of your head, or more importantly your face.